Raheem Sterling is 'going through a bad time... but must let his football do the talking,' says Roy Hodgson, after Liverpool man is booed

Hodgson has "no reservations" about selecting Sterling against Slovenia

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The Independent Online

Roy Hodgson warned Raheem Sterling that he will have to get used to the kind of hostile treatment he received from the Republic of Ireland fans in Dublin today – where his every touch was booed.

The 20-year-old was given the same treatment by Stoke City fans in his last game of the season for Liverpool – and his own club’s fans have also shown their discontent in patches over his unwillingness to sign a new contract although it is yet to become outright hostility. The booing in Ireland, during the dismal 0-0 friendly draw, appeared to be motivated by a similar distaste at the way his future has played out at Liverpool.

Sterling was substituted after 66 minutes for Andros Townsend and declined the opportunity so speak after the game. Hodgson said that the player’s performance was being affected by the criticism over his contract stand-off which shows no signs of relenting.

“I think he's going through a bad time publicly,” Hodgson said. “You can't expect people just to shrug off the criticism he has been receiving, not least from the local media in Liverpool. That becomes national pretty quickly. He does ever so well and tries well to shrug it off, let his football do the talking.

“He needed this game to realise that, if he is going to get it out of his system, he's going to have to work harder still and get a thicker skin than he has at the moment. We only took him off today was to give others the game, to air the squad.”

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England manager Roy Hodgson watches a dull game unfold

Hodgson said that he had “no reservations” about selecting Sterling for the Euro 2016 qualifier against Slovenia on Sunday. “I trust Sterling. But players are not robots. He's done some fantastic things for us, but [against Ireland] he didn't hit those heights. It'll take a lot before I and the English national team sway from Raheem Sterling.”

Hodgson accepted that England had been well below par. “We've had a good run, a year almost unbeaten, but we came here believing if we played our best football we could win the game. But we never got close to that. We didn't lose, but we have to accept – myself and the players – there were a lot of things we could have done better.”

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